Yahoo reportedly to mull sale of its core business

The lumbering Internet giant may be looking to sell its iconic Web properties, including Yahoo Mail and search, says a report.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva
2 min read

Yahoo will reportedly meet to discuss the future of the company.

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Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been desperately trying to lure consumers back to the company's products, like Yahoo Mail and search. But now she may be considering another option: selling Yahoo's iconic Internet services altogether, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

The company will weigh the decision to sell its core business during a series of meetings from Wednesday to Friday, according to the report, which cites anonymous sources.

During those meetings, everything apparently is on the table. The company will discuss whether it will continue with its plan to spin off its stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, worth more than $30 billion. Or it could sell its own Internet business. Or it could do both.

A Yahoo spokeswoman declined to comment.

Since Mayer, a former Google executive, took the helm at Yahoo in 2012, she's been trying to turn the troubled Internet pioneer into a destination again.

She's tried to remake the company for the mobile era as more consumers migrate to smartphones and tablets from PCs. She's refreshed each one of the company's mobile properties, including Yahoo Mail, Weather, Finance and Sports. She's also tried to make the company a premier media destination, hiring well-known personalities like journalist Katie Couric and acquiring the rights to high-profile shows like the sitcom "Community."

But Mayer hasn't yet been able to match the excitement around products from many of Yahoo's fiercest rivals. Once one of the most powerful sites on the Web, Yahoo has been overtaken in search and email by Google and beaten in media by Netflix and Amazon. Facebook and even younger players like Snapchat have gobbled up users that Yahoo covets for its messaging apps, too.

Still, even as Yahoo has fallen out of fashion, it's managed to stay one of the most visited Web brands in the US. More than 210 million people visited Yahoo's properties in October, according to ComScore. Only Google and Facebook had more visitors.

The speculation about selling its core business means even more pressure is mounting for Mayer. Last month, the activist investor group Starboard wrote a letter to Yahoo urging the company to keep its stake in Alibaba (as well as Yahoo Japan, another successful Asian asset) and instead sell its Web properties.

In the meantime, Yahoo has been looking to trim the fat from its product line. In October, Mayer pledged to bring more "focus" to the company to try to stave off irrelevancy. CFO Ken Goldman said Yahoo would "disinvest" in products that weren't strong performers.

Among the potential buyers for Yahoo's Internet business would be private equity firms, according to the Journal.

Yahoo's stock is up more than 7 percent in after-hours trading.